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Identifying Ancestral locations from your Autosomal DNA Results

And linking them with ancestral surnames!

The Autosomal DNA test is the most popular commercial ancestral DNA test worldwide (tests like’s, 23andMe's, MyHeritage and FTDNA's Family Finder). BUT are you really getting the most from your Autosomal DNA test results? Rather than exhaustively looking to see how you connect to each individual match, maybe you should take a fresh approach, and look to where all these ancestral lines originate? We know that anyone who appears as an autosomal DNA match to you shares a relative with you within the last 150-200 years. Here’s the thing, approximately half of your autosomal DNA matches ALSO reveal ancestral details (ancestral surnames and ancestral locations). That detail is NOT RANDOM: they literally reflect the relationships that developed among your various ancestral lines living in various locations within that last 200 years (some of your genetic relatives record surnames and locations much older than the 200 year limit of shared DNA). The following analysis and images are taken from the ‘Kelly Irish Origenes Autosomal DNA Case study’ which can be downloaded for free and studied by CLICKING HERE.

A simple exercise can demonstrate the ‘non-random’ nature of that ancestral information revealed by your autosomal genetic relatives. You can blast search the ancestral detail recorded by your genetic relatives for references to specific countries (e.g. Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, France, Germany etc.) see accompanying image. Once you have identified a specific country, in this instance ‘Ireland,’ you can break it down even more, and identify provinces or counties within Ireland that are referenced the most, in this instance a search of Irish Counties reveals that the most notable hotspots is located within bordering Limerick and Tipperary in Munster (Mayo in Connacht, Antrim and Donegal in Ulster, and Dublin in Leinster also emerged) see accompanying image. One can go even further, some of one’s genetic relatives also record ancestral locations within Limerick and Tipperary, those locations and their associated ancestral surnames are not random; plot them and they will localise to a very specific area (the area surrounding the Silvermine Mountains on the Limerick and Tipperary border), see accompanying image

BUT which of the test subjects ancestral surnames link to the Silvermine Mountains. In this instance the test subject had 2 ancestral Irish surnames; Kelly and Beirne. This is where the historical data on a surnames distribution, together with local placenames play a very crucial role. Surnames in early census data are not distributed randomly, they concentrate in the area where the surname first appeared, or in the area one’s ancestors first settled!  In addition, the longer a surname is associated with an area the greater the chance of finding an associated placename (e.g. Kelly’s Road, Kelly’s Field or Beirne’s crossroads).  Distribution mapping reveals that Beirne is not connected to the Limerick and Tipperary borderlands, but is common In Connacht (which includes Mayo which also emerged as a DNA hotspot). In contrast, the Kelly surname, although ubiquitous throughout Ireland, concentrates along the Limerick and Tipperary borderlands in an area rich in Kelly placenames, see accompanying image. This type of analysis links the test subject’s Kellys to the area just south of Nenagh town in North Tipperary close to Limerick, and in the shadow of the Silvermine Mountains. Similarly, this type of analysis also links the test subjects Beirnes to South Mayo in the west of Ireland, and as more people participate in autosomal DNA testing it will reveal which of his ancestral surnames link to Donegal, Antrim and Dublin.

One must also remember that this is a DNA approach, and hence one can DNA test individuals with a specific surname from the identified area to confirm the link. Even more crucially, it also provides one with a location in which to focus ones search when the ancestral papertrail has reached a brick wall! What will your Autosomal DNA results reveal?????

Contact Irish Origenes (CLICK HERE) for a FREE CONSULTATION on your DNA results, or to find out about commercial ancestral DNA testing; and a suitable test for you.

And remember folks, your DNA results are produced in a scientific lab, and interpreted by trained scientists. Always check the qualifications of that blogger or person giving DNA advice (an honorary qualification is not equivalent to hard work and years of scientific experience). 

English Origenes

Scottish Origenes